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At-Home Antigen Testing Shows High Sensitivity Around Time of Covid-19 Symptom Onset

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harmon_2021

85
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Abstract

Since its discovery, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has created a global pandemic of COVID-19. As of August 2 2, 2021, more than 198 million infections were reported worldwide. Typical symptoms include fatigue, fever, cough, and anosmia or dysgeusia. Outbreak management has been hindered by high transmission rates and limitations in testing capacity. Effective public health tools are needed for rapid and early detection. The current diagnostic standard is quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), but its cost and long turnaround times limit its utility for widespread surveillance. Lack of surveillance has caused severe societal disruption. Rapid antigen tests that permit new cases to isolate immediately can be important surveillance tools. 3 A longitudinal comparison between antigen tests performed at home and qRT-PCR has not previously been performed, to our knowledge. Here, we describe implementation of high-frequency testing using inexpensive, at-home, semiquantitative, direct antigen rapid tests (DARTs) and compare their performance with that of qRT-PCR on self-collected nasal specimens.

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